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. >> breaking news. major earthquake rocks japanment pictures are staggering. >> up next. powerful jolt that triggered a tsunami warning as >> up next. powerful jolt that triggered a tsunami warning as fafafafafafafafafafafafafafafafa
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>> a major earthquake has hit japan followed by a tsunami. >> this is what is happening right as we speak. a large tsunami engulfing the port of. >> 8.8 earthquake struck off japan northeast coast a little more than an hour ago. >> we show you more of the images. they are staggering. as you can see here the tsunami swept ashore. the wave measured at least 13 feet high and it
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carried boat and cars several block inland toward the city center. >> no word yet on any death or injuries but seems almost inconceivable there will not be as they assess the damage. jap pan officials have issued evacuation orders for the coastal area. >> tsunami watch issued for several nations concluding taiwan, russia, philippines and in the indonesian. it covers hawaii and the u.s. territory of guam. >> now large ship has rammed directly into a break water. quake rocked the tv newsroom in northern japan. look what happened here. everything swa swayed and falls. >> shaking forced officials to shut down japan famed bullet train system and tokyo subway to be checked for damages. this hit in the middle of the afternoon and already friday in japan. >> fire broke out throughout tokyo. 240 miles from the quake epi-center. people streamed out of high-rise to
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seek safety in the street. >> both major airport in tokyo closed their runway and several nuclear power plants have been shut down as well. >> the quake realitiesed japan parliament as legislators met in toke yochlt several after shock followed the quake including one measuring 7. 4. that was an after shock. 30 minutes after the quake tall buildings were still swaying in tokyo. >> joining us live is dr. robert hammer with uc berkeley size meteorology department. this is just a massive earthquakement can you describe for us the power that an 8.8 quake carries? >> that's larger than anything we have seen here in californi california. by quite a bit. 8.8 rank in the top dozen in the world in the last 100 year years. earthquake in indonesian as i recall was 9.0a
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few years ago. this is larger quake we have had in recorded is in recent years certainly. give us a sense of how much stronger an earthquake is just say from going 8.7 to 8.8 in terms of how much of an increase in magnitude. >> each time you go up a tenth it goes up by 30 percent and energy release almost doubles. >> energy almost doubles in just one tenth of a point. >> almost. yes. >> we understand that several quakes hit this same region wednesday. there was a 7. 3 magnitude quake in that area so obviously very seismiccly active situation there and we are probably expecting more after shock sns. >> yes well when you look at the pills coast of japan it is very active seismic and you will see any given area and the
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bigger earthquakes occur from time to time like the one here. this is largest one they have seen in that area in the least in the last century. >> go ahead. >> and you are talk about magnitude 7 occurring recently. the 7 could have been a shock much larger earthquake and obviously it had after shock after this level in the last hour. >> we look at just remarkable picture of the power of the earthquake, tsunami generated as water rushes over coastal area taking cars and in some instances building and large ship in the debris and wake. dr. hammer people will wonder here we live in such a seismic active area. something happening so far away off the coast of japan potentially affect us and shift plate and trigger something in our area?
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>>reporter: well, l notably all the plate are interconnected but we can't show that earthquake nachl one area affects seismic in another area lick off the coast of california directly. but in long-term they are all interconnected to some degree. >> we know that there's a tsunami warning in effect right now as far away as hawaii. how long will that likely stay in place, when do we know if that's going to be a concern for those in hawaii? >>reporter: >> well, it takes about one day for the seismic wave to propagate across the pacific ocean from japan to california and when it hits hawaii it will see what the size of it and may be able to gauge how big it might be when it comes across the coast of north america. >> so it could be many hours yet before we know whether tsunami will actually strike
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hawaii area? >> yes. out in the open osha tsunami wave travels at about 600 miles an hour so it takes quite a few hours to go across the paichblingt well dr. hammer with the uc pwer berkeley size meteorology department thanks for coming on with us and more insight into what happened in japan. appreciate it. >> we want to check in now with sandy with more on the tsunami warnings that we have been talking about. sandy. >> well, as you look at this graphic here you will see that there has been numerous activity here. numerous earthquake that have been reported here. the largest of course 8.9 at 9:46 p.has been another earthquake on the scale 6.4 at 10:06. this has generated a tsunami warping for russia, japan, this is sent out by the pacific tsunami warning center. the pacific tsunami warning center japan russia
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guam are unthe warning. the watch is in effect for fill peerngs indonesian and we look at hawaii that was just issued for the tsunami. they are saying that they have taken a look at sea level readings and tsunami may have been generated as far how pwiingt is and whether it will reach still unclear. sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. watch issued for hawaii. no watches and warnings for california or the west coast. >> thanks very much. we have on the phone with us now harold hammond with the menlo county fire department. harold are you there. >> yes i can hear you. thanks for coming on. you have had considerable experience in dealing with emergencies of this nature. what do you expect is going to happen in japan? >> well, first thing that they are going to need to do is get some level of situational awareness of what it is that they have going on. how big it is. how many areas are affected and obviously ultimately where they need to
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focus their resources. >> we are looking at some dramatic images right now as the water pushes across some fields in northern japan here. it appears to be so much debris being carried along with it. we haven't yet heard the accident of the human toll that was taken but obviously it's quite severe. >> these are live pictures by the way of this water rushing overland as a result of the tsunami we believe that occurred after this earthquake p.harold, any sense that you folks have been dispatched all over the world. over the years. any idea whether you will be needed in japan? >> well, you know, watching the reports with the tsunami warning at this point i would say that we are probably maybe going to get an alert from the hawaiian islands that would be an area we would respond to. i know the international teams one of which just came back from their mission over seas will probably get called up.
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we currently have a class japanese firefighters here that are l scheduled to graduate basic rescue course tomorrow. we have plan to have another group, advance course for them next week of group that was going to fly in over the weekend. i think a lot of that is going to be problematic at this point. but it's hard to say what will happen. it depend on the next 24 hours good news is there can be in any in this it occurred during daylight hours and they have an opportunity to try an figure out exactly all of what is has gone on in the country and in terms of damage to what accident and then also what they are going to need in terms of assistance. with daytime event you hopefully have more of an aware population. than if people were slichlingt certainly people able to evacuate and get to hire ground right now. >> see what is going on where the damage is. >> i suppose this is important
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about for your team in any situation like this it's a learning opportunity. you get better at understanding the consequences of these events which can of course ultimately help people in the bay area; is that right. >> well, that's just it. everything that you do makes you better for the next one. we have been working closely with both the japanese rescue teams over the last 10 years. also done a the had of training with teams that are in l china and taiwan and so forth as wel well. so we know a lieutenant of the rescue. relationship with them and l there are some good rescue teams in japan. so hopefully some of the people we have worked with will be able to do some things immediately. because that's really for the rest of the standpoint most create consolidate tame now is the next 24 hours as people may be trapped. this is a combination collapse i'm guessing event as well as potentially what we call large area search event where there's large area impacted by the tsunami and floodwater that
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have come in and recede sod they need to search all those areas to look for survivors. >> like you said we'll know in the next day or so whether tsunami take as great toll here in this country. >> these are again live pictures of the town of here as water races overland. we heard of reports of cars and buildings and large ships being swept away. there are reports of building collapse. there are fires reported in downtown tokyo. so the full accident of the damage will not be known for hours if not days. but as harold hammer from menlo park suggest at least during the daylight better able to assess the damage and respond more quickly than if it happened in the middle of the night. harold you mention that you have these teams of japanese firefighters with you now and more were expected to come in. i guess this is all in flux they could be returning home sooner than expected to help deal with the crisis? >> yes. we have to find out their last day of training the
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dwrup that is here, has been here all week. in fact tomorrow is the graduation sayer mochbility i planned to be there for thachl i have been out of town early in the week so haven't spent as much time was this group as with others but i know that the handlers that are with them are also from japanqñ and they were scheduled to return on saturday. then we had another group coming in on saturday or sunday that was going to be here that we have trained with before. more of an advanced class that we would do with them. so i don't know what is going to happen at this point. they may not even be able to get back and the group we have planned to come here i'm assuming that based upon the need within the country that they are not going to be able to meet that schedule. that's okay because we don't know what is going to happen in terms of our team probably in the next several days whether or not we get called out as well. >> harold how does that decision get made? are you requested to go. volunteer your service. how do you decide where and when to go. >> the task force is part of a net work of teams in the united states under the federal
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government under fema and urban search rescue program. 28 national teams in the country but primarily there are 2 teams one in the west coast and east coast that would go international if necessary and that's los angeles county and then fairfax county in virgini virginia. approximately however that said when the haiti event occurred the united states responded 10 of the 20 teams. now we never respond all the teams because obviously we have a static troot this country every day whether earthquake and ring of fire that struck japan but that also can affect california and the west coast but also for other events where we may have a terrorist attack or what have you. so we are never going to deplate all the team in the country so i'm sure that approximately ty as0 ataste answer and fema involved. probably well aware at this point what is going on and then they are going to need to wait for the japanese to do that assessment. once that assessment gets done the japanese are going to need to
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ask for assistance from other countries. that is easier done it is to get people in there. if airfields are affected. that's logistically difficult to move teams into the area and the worst part about tsunami is it is destroying all those transportation routes that would be used for team into the proximity so they have to have the mobility of helicopters and other things. this is not an easy haven't for anybody to get around in and it will take awhile to figure out not only how big and affected and people need to reresponsible, it's complicated by the tsunami. >> absolutely. we understand that there are now 4 million people without power which is clearly something would you anticipate when you see the pictures that we are seeing here. >> absolutely. now to rae cap if you are just tuning in. japanese official l whether politician or emergency official politician perhaps. this massive earthquake hit in
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mid afternoon japan time. the magnitude has shifted around a little bit as of the case in the first few hours of the situation of this magnitude. first report was that it was somewhere around 7. 9. >> right. night is 8.8, eigh eight.9 the latest we have heard again but you can expect that number to move a little bit up and down as geologist try to get a good handle on strong this was. you are looking at the tiny here in northern japan as water just races overland as a result of tsunami following the quake. >> this is obviously very close to the epicenter but in tokyo which is 240 miles away from this area we have seen fires in downtown tokyo, buildings swaying, definitely fooel felt all the way in tokyo as well and certainly the damage is quite wide spread. >> yes. central tokyo trains stopped, passengers walked along the track total platform platforms, office buildings. people left their office buildings and as harold l from
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the menlo park fire department rae minded us, the good news but at least fortunately this happened in the middle of the daytime where people could get to safety. not in the middle of the night and emergency crew can effectively respond a little bit better during the daylight hours. >> we have already seen very powerful after shock 30 minutes after the massive quake hit. 7. 4 magnitude quake hit the same area and on wednesday there was also 7. 3 quake in this same region which could well have been a fourth shock. >> we know many of you watching have family and friends in japan. no doubt you are terribly concerned about them. know this. mobile phone network are not working in many instances. tell communication are difficult. try the i hope net to see if you can get through that way. but communication may be very difficult for the immediate future here so i know you want to know about family and friend there. but understand that
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just because you can't get through doesn't mean the worst. just means you can't get through. >> we are still looking again here in northern japan where the sue nationally has just raced across farm land bringing with it debris from pieces of homes it looks like as well as boats that have just really been swept across the wide spread region. >> again these are live pictures from japanese television. this earthquake hit about an hour and 15 or 20 minutes ago something like that and the full accident of the damage we will not know for some time but we know it's considerable. 8.8 magnitude earthquake is going to produce enormous damage most likely. this was roughly 240 miles off the coast, 6 miles deep. not too deep but certainly great distance from main land japan but at that magnitude of course enough to cause significant damage even 240 miles away. >> harold with the menlo park fire department still on the
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line with us. he's a search and rescue effort and talking a bit about where your services might come into play here. but again it's a little early to gauge when that might be, >> harold are you still there by the way. >> yes, i am. >> give us quick rundown of the immediate need from emergency personnel? what are the first couple things this that must get accomplished whether communication what are the first couple of key objectives? >> well, i'm watching actually your channel and the footage right now and it's disturbing no doubt. tsunami is just going to make this so much more difficult with the damage and movement. i think they have already got air up. you are sight. they have a news helicopter up. japan has very sophisticated rescue system. they have a very sophisticated communications. it's very modern infrastructure. l that is going in their favor here but l mother nature is going to wipe out quite a few things so that is working against them.
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getting situational awareness is a huge deal. we saw it during katrina where there was assumptions made that were incorrect. people didn't realize how big it was or how much it affected new orleans. this is similar in that respect but you have to add in the earthquake. so l their biggest problem right now is going to be as power is out. communication interrupted. figuring out all the different areas that are impacted then how big and how affected each one of the areas are in terms of the damage and pwll they cap take their resources because approximately only got so many and whether they can place those to do the most good for the most people. that's going to be a real tough thing to figure out as you can see. >> harold take a look at this. this is clearly an airport. i think we are approximately north of toke yochlt we can see the runway are just covered in water here and you are looking at the terminal. >> jet ways. swamped. so this
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airport not going to reopen any time soon two airport in tokyo were closed at least briefly probably to be check. i don't know what the status is. now this only complicates matter. can't get people in and out readily kahn. >> that's a problem. one of the things that we learned i think again going back to the lessons from katrina a.air mobility was a big big bonus for that in that event. didn't happen right away but the mobile air power in terms of rotary wing helicopters that can get people around is going to be an important part of what they are going to need to put into play pretty quickly. bigger problem for them is eventually initially they need to move people in and out of the area. both evacuee and rescuers going in and evacuee come out but also need to move in supply and equipment so those airfields from the aspect of them helping themselves or other international l entity or rescue teams or relief effort coming in to help them just going to make it extremely
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complicated to allow that to occur in a really organized fashion. haiti had one airfield and they were stacking the air planes up on the fairfield. fueling issues. runway issues. in terms of the length. what you are seeing here is they are losing a lot of that infrastructure. this is going to be a very complicated event because unfortunately they are an island. again like we saw in new zealand and we saw in haiti once you have an island the logistical aspect of trying to get in there and give that assistance and make this work is not going to be very easily solved. >> you know harold as we look at the pictures we are reminded few moments ago by robert hammer with the uc berkeley size meteorology department this 8.8 magnitude is most powerful in the last 100 years. we have a list of some of the more powerful earthquake since 1900 at chile 9.5. back in
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1960. alaska of course the big quake in 1964 there 9.2. until really does rank among one of the most powerful earthquake we have had in the last 100 years. quit shocking really. >> yes. this is unprecedented at this point. i think as you again having just the earthquake is one thing. combining it with the tsunami is quite a different thing. so you have got almost a double whamy here with what l is affecting these folks and as kahn see by the people who are trapped on top of those buildings at the airport vehicle and the other things at water raced back out, you know, those all need to be searched and they have a large area search problem as well as the fires that you are showing. you have to mitigate the fire problem. 19 06 in san francisco. 1989 pevrnl remembers what happened in san francisco. we have seen that
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in other earthquake. there's a lot of immediate need issue to address and longer term issues of doing this recovery and this search wide spread throughout the affected portions of the country. >> this we are looking at oil refinery fire right now and certainly we have seen fires in the tokyo area as well and certainly complicates the whole effort to try to put out these fires and figure out what is going on. i mean. >> and we expect to see and hear more of this as the full accident of the damage is know known. this is about an area with oil refinery. japan of course relies on nuclear energy in larger measure than we do here and we understand that at least one nuclear power plant has been shut down deactivated for the time being presumably as safety feature we have not heard of any problems associated with any of the knew him power plants in japan but with this magnitude quake that is going to be something that
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they will be very careful about. >> something else to point out. unlike some of the other quake that happened in other parts of the world so devastating look at indonesian few years ago with nine and terrible tsunami there. harold, places like indonesian were not well prepared not only from response standpoint but in terms of architecture and infrastructure standpoint for earthquake of this. japan is state of the art country and they are as prepared as you can get in a lot of respects for earthquakes of any magnitude am i right. >> yes they really are. i think the key i think for everybody watching this is we talk about the this all the nims terms of preparedness for the citizen. people who leif here in california. watch this with a different eye. if you don't have your family prepared. if you don't have l things that can help you survive over a longer period of time. grocery store and atm
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and everything. no power is going to go on then maybe reevaluate watching what is going on here in the modern infrastructure. they have a very well thought out well prepared group of people who have worked for many, many years to make sure that the public is prepared. and i think they are very organized very regimented country. so it's going to be easier in some ways for them than it was in indonesian than it was in haiti and maybe even at caiingt church. so far that's a model of at least organization over there in how they handled this. but this ace bigger event. the fires you saw a minute ago no goodwill come from that in a refinery special feel no way to suppress the fires with that amount of fuel storage. only going to get bigger and only going to get worse. having people who not just emergency responders who can help take care of themselves at the very least and certainly take care of their neighbors and their
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family and anyone else that they can assist that is a big part i think of japan success here. >> we are looking at pictures of downtown tokyo right now. we have talked about how japan is such a modern country. building codes are terrific especially in this area but you can see people there's quite a bit of traffic here. people are trying to figure out what to do. >> whatever they are doing. just to clarify this discrepancy on the screen what you are looking at are the pictures coming from public television state television nhk in japan. you see the graphic there on the bottom 8.4 quake. initially it was 7. 4. u.s. gs has it at 8.8 and 8.9 to. clarify we believe the latest u.s. gs is that it is an 8.8 or 8.9 is the very latest and nhk not to pick on any they have been behind on the estimate when others have reported greater magnitude so
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we think the latest magnitude, current magnitude estimate is 8.9 which puts it in the top just handful of earthquake in the past 100 years anywhere around the world. >> they have explained the japanese system rank quake on scale of zero to receive and this ace 7 on the japanese scale. so clearly it's a massive earthquake with tsunami that already struck in japan and now waiting to see what happens beyond japan. all the countries in the neighboring region that are on tsunami watch tonight and into tomorrow including the united states. hawaiian island. are at risk. >> right. we can for a moment let's seeó[ if anything criticl being said we can dip that the sound. we understand the broadcast is in english. let's listen to what he or she has to say. >> he rack waiting from the coast line in case of tsunami warning and stay away from the coast line. look at that what we see. look at the p.m. tsunami engulfing such a large
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part of the area. homes being flooded along with farms and p.m. the city. major earthquake hitting japan friday afternoon. the quake measured at magnitude 8.4 one of the largest to ever hit japan. agency issues tsunami warning due to situation like this as you see are helicopter covering lie in northern japan in the area where obviously tsunami has engulfed a large and swept away a large part of the city. in other areas including this area tsunami wave over 4 meters observed soon after the quake. agency warning that more tsunami could reach between 6 and 10 meters. agency say more tsunami could be reach. >> broadcaster from tokyo,
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japan. describing some of the daniel as they begin to assess across the country how bad the daniel is. but you heard him talking about the tsunami could be 6 to 8 meet -- 10 meters in places and tsunami warning in effect as far away as hawaii and as we have been saying it may be several hours before we know whether tsunami will in fact threaten hawaii. >> harold we are hearing that 30 minutes after the quake struck the sky scrapers in tokyo were still swaying from this. i guess that really speaks to the power of this quake. >> yes. it does. but remember again, the japanese have done a really good job as has the united states specifically the west coast of building structures that are resilient. sour going to have those high-rises are designed to keep moving so that they don't have ridge id in them meaning that they are going to crack and tumble. tease good going to be a real important thing for any
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type of structure that it be resilient and specifically designed structure for an earthquake. and so that is not unusual to have multi-story building l of their size continue to move and sway because theory leasing that energy over time. >> and the real champ challenge and danger in the smaller perhaps unreinforced buildings and private homes and older buildings. that's where the real danger lies i would imagine. >> yes. a lieutenant of the, again you are going to find out where you don't have the modern infrastructure and that's where you have the problems but i think as you are seeing as well the power of water is i don't care how good your seismic rating is. that right now that double whamy we are seeing buildings that are being wiped out and they are getting hit by cars. getting hit by debris hit by the force of a wave of water. not much other than l really reinforce structure will be able to sustain that and
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probably they will sustain mainly damage as well. >> we can see people p.m. waving about what look to be sheets or towels from the top floors of these buildings and we can also see just how much water is in this area consuming the bottom floors. >> like katrina a. approximately several people up on the airport which has been looked like it had been pretty badly flooded. only couple miles from the ocean on the roof top as well and you can see all of these homes surrounded by water, so we would expect that they will have to mount a rescue effort to get to some of the people who will be trapped, harold. >> yes. they have just so you know teams have come here we do collapse training for them and then they also have been really good as the california teams have trained for years to be kind of dual function team. by that what i mean is we also do swift water rescue so they learn how to do water rescue and boat operation, helicopter
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operations and in addition to the collapse structure training that we offer and do with them. so california has that exact same model. in faibingt is unique in the united states only a few other states do what we do which is texas is one but california has the most swift water rescue teams in the nation. that's why we went to new orleans. japanese have prepared as has taiwan prepared themselves exactly the same way approximately because they are an island. they understand that they can have an earthquake and water problem just lake they are dealing with here. so they may be able to get boat ins there hard to say or may have to work off helicopters but the bottom line is when you are working around water you want to have people trained that somebody goes in. they have the proper flotation devices. used to working in the environment. that's going to be their m o over there because they are cross trained to do that and watching this i'm also thinking our students
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that we have from japan that are over this week they pay for this is classes out of their own pockets so one of the things i was thinking about, i don't know what we are going to do with these guys if they can't get back because only have x amount of resources to stay here for a period of we need to either try to get them back somehow l or they are going to be here for a little bit. >> i imagine they are eager to get back when they see this type of devastation that they are trained. >> we'll need to play it by ear tomorrow. i'm guessing that they are probably watching this as well and i don't know where they are all from. we have mostly most of our students from sky pan come from outside of tokyo from a different of area so we have to see what areas were affected and then i'm sure if it's any of the areas that these guys are come from your exactly right. they don't want to be here but back there. >> l scary coins dhaens this tragedy happened while teams of trainee from japan are here learning how to respond to

ABC 7 News at 11PM
ABC March 10, 2011 11:00pm-11:35pm PST

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Tokyo 12, California 8, Japan 7, Harold 7, Haiti 4, Taiwan 3, Fema 2, Daniel 2, Katrina A. 2, Nhk 2, New Orleans 2, Downtown Tokyo 2, Russia 2, Uc Berkeley 2, San Francisco 2, Sayer Mochbility 1, You Look 1, Sandy 1, Osha 1, Pwiingt 1
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